Smith fights back to win Tri-State stop

Christian Smith battled back through five matches on the one-loss side to meet and defeat Jose Cruz in the finals of the Tri-State tour stop on Saturday, May 16. The $500-added, A-D handicapped event drew 37 players to Comet Billiards in Parsippany, NJ.

Cruz had battles of his own to contend with. He reached the hot seat after three, double hill battles, including a nail biter among the winners' side final four versus Guy Iannuzzi, who fought back from a 6-1 Cruz lead to tie it. Cruz prevailed, however, as Pam Ogarek sent Jason Egeln west in another hill-hill battle. Cruz dominated 8-3 versus Ogarek and waited in the hot seat for Smith.

Smith, in the meantime, got by Joe Fego 7-4 and Gary Murgia 7-5 to take on Iannuzzi. It was T.J. Smithers, after wins over Ben Sadowski (7-4) and Juan Guzman (7-5), waiting for Egeln. For the second time in a row, Iannuzzi found himself on the down side of a hill-hill struggle as Smith dropped him into the tie for fifth place. Smithers, in the meantime, got by Egeln 6-4. Smith was picking up speed at this point. He advanced past Smithers in the quarterfinal 7-3 and Ogarek in the subsequent semifinals 8-4.

In the extended-format finals that followed against Cruz, Smith reached the requisite seven games first. He added two more to end it at 9-5 and bring home the first place prize.